Despite Darfur's spiking violence, World Vision continues to serve the most vulnerable; our recent distribution of more than 1,220 school uniforms to displaced children inspired students and teachers alike.
Fatima Osman, 7, (red shirt) and her sister, Hawa Osman, 9, jump rope with friends at one of two World Vision-supported Child Friendly Spaces in the Dereig displacement camp of South Darfur. Playing at this facility is one of the few occasions during which the hearing-impaired Hawa smiles. These islands of hope are created to provide a safe place for war-scarred children.
© 2006 Jon Warren/World Vision
"World Vision is the first organization to give us school uniform[s]," said an excited Asmaa Abdullah, 12. The fifth-grader was referring to the more than 1,220 school uniforms World Vision had donated to students at her school — the Zat Al Nitagien Basic School for girls in Nyala, South Darfur's state capital.
Fourth-grader Hilkma Salih added she was so thrilled with her new uniform that she was recommitting herself to achieve her lifelong ambition — becoming a doctor.
School Distribution Improves Standards
In addition to the uniforms, World Vision also donated tables, chairs, and teacher's supplies to help improve the learning environment at the overcrowded facility.
Because of the overwhelming numbers of displaced youth in Nyala, the school offers two classroom shifts — more than 565 students attend in the morning, and nearly 660 go to evening classes. Salih noted that prior to receiving this furniture, students had to sit on the floor during class.
A cheerful Batoul Abdul Rahman, the head teacher at Zat Al Nitagien, reported that since the school's establishment in 1990, World Vision is the first organization to give such support. She expressed excitement about how World Vision's distributions would help improve educational standards.
Dire Conditions Mark Darfur Region
Fatima (second from right) walks with some friends in the play area at the Child Friendly Space of the Dereig displacement camp in South Darfur. This space affords her and other children an opportunity to interact with each other in a safe environment, while receiving academic instruction and psychosocial support to help recover from emotional trauma.
© 2006 Jon Warren/World Vision
Darfur's children and families live in conditions World Vision has rarely seen in our more than 55 years of serving those in need. Killings and rapes are rampant in the region; women and children are particularly vulnerable to the violence. With little food, water, clothing, or health care, families struggle to survive in makeshift huts crammed into the sprawling camps proliferating on the edge of the vast Sahara Desert.
In the face of such dire conditions, the simple school uniform distribution proved to be a morale booster just as much to World Vision staff as it was to students and teachers in the region.
Our humanitarian assistance to Darfur's war-weary families since June 2004 has focused on serving the needs of vulnerable children through a variety of programs, including the establishment of Child Friendly Spaces and the provision of educational support.
Commitment to Displaced Youth
South Darfur's educational infrastructure has been severely affected by the brutal, ongoing ethnic conflict in the region that broke out in 2003 and has displaced more than 2 million people. Despite increased violence in the region
, including recent attacks on World Vision
, our Sudan staff has continued to work tirelessly to bring comfort, sustenance, and hope to hundreds of thousands of Darfur's displaced.
Zat Al Nitagien Basic School
is one of 15 schools
in South Darfur at which we have helped improve learning environments for displaced school-aged youth.
World Vision Operations Ongoing
Increased security lapses in the region last month prompted a United Nations advisory to all nongovernmental agencies operating in Darfur; in response, most aid organizations scaled back development activities to protect their staffs from increasing attacks.
World Vision scaled back its humanitarian operations for two weeks, but is back to being fully operational as of Oct. 16 — the beginning of Idd El-Fitr, a Muslim festival marking the end of Ramadan
. Meanwhile, essential services have continued to serve Darfur's displaced — our food distribution and the administration of a half-dozen health clinics in the troubled region.
>> Read about
what Manawashi Mixed Basic School students in Darfur had to say about World Vision's efforts to help improve their learning environment last year.
>> Read more
about World Vision's work with the most vulnerable in Darfur.
>> Check out a Reuters article
detailing the recent escalating violence in Darfur.
Two Ways You Can Help
>> Praise God for the inspiration students and teachers received through World Vision's efforts to rehabilitate the Zat Al Nitagien Basic School for girls in Nyala. Continue to pray for Sudan's hundreds of thousands of displaced persons who are suffering, especially for the children who are most vulnerable to the ongoing violence in war-torn Darfur.
>> Give food and supplies to help alleviate Sudan's suffering.